Shortly before my son, Gideon, enlisted in the Army he broke up a bloody dog fight between our beloved Tito, a cocky medium sized Rotwieller and Irie Girl, sixty pounds of pure Pit-bull muscle. Both dogs were good friends but something intrinsic to the canine population erupted into a vicious battle over possession of a large meaty beef bone. I was not at home to witness the horrors of this domestic dispute and can only imagine how frightening it must have been for Gideon to put himself in-between two “raging bulls” bent on conquering even if it meant death to the weaker opponent and the “referee”. Irie needed stitches to repair half of her torn ear, Tito sustained deep facial and neck wounds, and the hero of our story emerged with fractured fingers and puncture wounds in his arm. Although I viewed my son as a hero, he just explained his actions as a typical intervention any responsible pet owner would have resorted to regardless of the risks involved,
And now my son is stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska training to take even greater risks as he learns and practices the skills Combat Engineers master for securing the way for ground troops. He tells me he wants to go to Iraq and perhaps his division will be sent there before the New Year. And those words penetrate like a sharp sword into the deepest recesses of my heart, places only other mothers would be familiar with. Though I battle with fear, feelings of deep pride and admiration for my son flood my heart and inspire me to be courageous. Gideon has made me realize that if we are not willing to die for what we believe in than we are not truly living.
So I treasure life each day. I treasure precious moments of freedom I enjoy that I know many people scattered around the globe do not enjoy. I treasure every phone call I get from my soldier never knowing if this will be the last conversation I have with him. And when the nightly news comes on and the proud faces of our young heroes who have died In Iraq and Afghanistan are flashed across the screen, I cry like any mother would. I know it could be my son’s face. And then I go back to my ordinary day. The laundry, dirty dishes, bills, and a report is due for work tomorrow. I have no time in my busy day to argue over the rightness or wrongness of our government’s decision to enter into war. I can only pray we are able to do our best to help bring honor and dignity to our distant neighbors who long for the same precious moments of life, and love, and liberty that I enjoy each day. And I can only pray, for my son, my hero, who is willing to die for what I cherish each new day I awake in this beautiful land of America.